Costly Opioid-Related Hospital Stays Soar Nationwide, But Vary Widely Among States

Issue #547
AHRQ News Now is a weekly newsletter that highlights agency research and program activities.
December 20, 2016

Editor's note: Due to the holiday season, AHRQ News Now will not publish on December 27.

AHRQ Stats: Treatment of Burn-Related Injuries

Between 1993 and 2013, rates of burn-related hospital stays decreased 35 percent while burn-related emergency department visits declined 17 percent. Infants had the highest rates of burn-related hospital stays and emergency department visits in 2013. (Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Statistical Brief #217: Burn-Related Hospital Inpatient Stays and Emergency Department Visits, 2013.)

Today's Headlines:

Costly Opioid-Related Hospital Stays Soar Nationwide, But Vary Widely Among States

Opioid-related hospital stays increased nationwide by 64 percent from 2005 to 2014, according to an AHRQ report offering new insights into the nation's costly opioid epidemic. Trends in opioid-related hospital stays varied widely among states, with rates increasing more than 70 percent in North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota and Washington, for example, while declining in Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana and Maryland. The report, Opioid-Related Inpatient Stays and Emergency Department Visits by State, 2009–2014, features data from AHRQ's Fast Stats, an online resource that provides inpatient and emergency department data from AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. The rise in overdoses linked to opioids, including prescription painkillers and heroin, has been declared an epidemic by HHS. The department initiated several strategies to help Americans struggling with opioid addiction, including AHRQ's series of grants totaling $12 million to address delivering medication-assisted treatment for opioid abuse in rural primary care practices. Access a press release on AHRQ's report, a new AHRQ infographic that shows state variations in opioid-related hospital stays, and Director Andy Bindman's AHRQ Views blog post on efforts to reduce opioid misuse.

Journal Supplement Focuses on Tools and Methods for Preventing Blood Clots

A new Journal of Hospital Medicine supplement, "Preventing Hospital-Acquired Venous Thromboembolism: Lessons from the Field," includes articles that demonstrate the benefit of hospitalwide reminders and alerts used to evaluate risks for blood clots and ensure all people at risk receive effective preventive measures. The supplement, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, includes an editorial co-authored by two experts from AHRQ's Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, center Director P. Jeffrey Brady, M.D., M.P.H., and Medical Officer Barbara Bartman, M.D., M.P.H. Articles in the supplement show that several hospitals were able to prevent venous thromboembolisms (VTEs) by engaging teams of health care experts, informing patients and providers about the need for and benefits of VTE prevention, and using technology (such as electronic risk assessment and clinical decision support tools and alerts) to ensure all patients were assessed for their VTE risk and bleeding. AHRQ offers a toolkit that health care providers can use to ensure they are following best practices in VTE prevention.

AHRQ Study Finds Cost Savings When Providers Deliver Care Management

An AHRQ-funded study found that patients participating in provider-led care management programs experienced lower costs for care than patients in plan-based care management programs, which only reached patients by phone. To assess the cost effects of provider-delivered care management, researchers gathered data over periods of up to four years on the costs that patients incurred for health care, excluding medications. These costs were compared with those incurred by similar patients enrolled in care management programs managed by health plans. Researchers found that patients served by health plan programs experienced less significant cost savings. The study, "A Comparison of Care Management Delivery Models on the Trajectories of Medical Costs Among Patients with Chronic Diseases: 4-year Follow-up Results," and abstract appeared in Health Services and Outcomes Research Methodology.

TeamSTEPPS® Deadlines Extended

TeamSTEPPS®, the AHRQ curriculum designed to improve patient safety by enhancing communication and teamwork skills among health professionals, has extended deadlines for the following events:

  • Dec. 23 is the deadline for submitting presentation abstracts at the 2017 TeamSTEPPS National Conference in Cleveland on June 13-16. The conference includes educational programming beginning with preconference sessions, keynote presentations, concurrent presentation panels, networking opportunities and poster sessions.
  • Jan. 6 is the application deadline for three-person teams to attend one of the TeamSTEPPS Advanced Courses in Seattle, Washington or New Hyde Park, New York. The course is intended to foster the growth of leaders who are committed to improving patient safety by integrating, spreading and sustaining TeamSTEPPS in their organizations. A prework training phase must be completed prior to attending the eight-hour in-person course. Access more information or contact with questions.

New Research and Evidence From AHRQ

AHRQ in the Professional Literature

Provider use of a novel EHR display in the pediatric intensive care unit. Large Customizable Interactive Monitor (LCIM). Asan O, Holden RJ, Flynn KE, et al. Appl Clin Inform 2016 Jul 20;7(3):682-92. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Hospital ownership of physicians: hospital versus physician perspectives. Baker LC, Bundorf MK, Devlin AM, et al. Med Care Res Rev 2016 Nov 2. [Epub ahead of print.] Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Practice style variation in Medicaid and non-Medicaid children with complex chronic conditions undergoing surgery. Silber JH, Rosenbaum PR, Wang W, et al. Ann Surg 2016 Nov 15. [Epub ahead of print.] Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Improving medication adherence: keep your eyes on the prize. Marcum ZA, Gellad WF. J Gen Intern Med 2016 Nov 15. [Epub ahead of print.] Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Effects of eliminating drug caps on racial differences in antidepressant use among dual enrollees with diabetes and depression. Adams AS, Soumerai SB, Zhang F, et al. Clin Ther 2015 Mar 1;37(3):597-609. Epub 2015 Jan 22. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Asthma treatments and mental health visits after a Food and Drug Administration label change for leukotriene inhibitors. Lu CY, Zhang F, Lakoma MD, et al. Clin Ther 2015 Jun 1;37(6):1280-91. Epub 2015 Apr 25. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Design of a cluster-randomized trial of electronic health record-based tools to address overweight and obesity in primary care. Baer HJ, Wee CC, DeVito K, et al. Clin Trials 2015 Aug;12(4):374-83. Epub 2015 Mar 25. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Optimizing antibiotic stewardship in nursing homes: a narrative review and recommendations for improvement. Crnich CJ, Jump R, Trautner B, et al. Drugs Aging 2015 Sep;32(9):699-716. Access the abstract on PubMed®.

Contact Information

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Page last reviewed December 2016
Page originally created December 2016
Internet Citation: Costly Opioid-Related Hospital Stays Soar Nationwide, But Vary Widely Among States. Content last reviewed December 2016. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.